Castevet – Summer Fences

May 13th, 2010 by Eric Loose


Open your ears and let that beautiful, simplistic melody flood your brain with ideas of happiness and contentment. As the song progresses, you can feel the emotion begin to well up as the instrumentation becomes more and more complex. You can’t remember the last time you felt this relaxed as you tilt your head back and feel your eyelids shut – but only halfway. And just as the vocals come in, so smoothly and fluidly, from the most mellifluous vo- WAIT!

That would be too expected. This is Summer Fences, and this is Castevet. No, instead a gruff scream breaks onto the scene like a wrecking ball into that building you used to call home. Summer Fences is an absolutely riveting piece of music, but it’s not without its fair share of curiosities. For instance, how do the formerly mentioned qualities mesh so well together? After much deliberation, it’s still hard to find a connection.

The instrumentation on Castevet is astounding and is reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky (check out “Beating High Schoolers At Arcade Games,” and “Between Berwyn and Bryn Mawr,” among others, for reference). The songs on Castevet, though all particularly unique in one way or another, have a similar make up. Progressing fairly slowly, a simple riff enters. Layer upon layer is added, and pretty soon you find yourself with something pretty damn extravagant. Though, of course, it’s not the build-up that makes us (well, me, at least) cringe with delight. It’s those small pockets of silence that inhabit the songs where you least expect them, giving you a rejuvenating breath of fresh air and a new outlook. The lavish songs oftentimes top the 5-minute mark, but every strum holds significance. Take the lengthy “I Know What A Lion Is.” The hoarse vocals come and go a few minutes in, but the soft, temperate guitar lines remain to soothe the senses. Some listeners claim to hear math rock tendencies scattered around Summer Fences as it tends to be very calculated, but all I hear is pure melodic gold in the sinewy guitars. Don’t worry, Summer Fences isn’t all pomp and circumstance, as they aren’t afraid to throw a poppy number in there (“Plays One On TV”). It’s absolutely incredible that a 45 minute listen comprised of 8 songs is such an easy, enjoyable listen. Instead of delays and choruses, Castevet rely more on the epic build-ups and soft/loud tendencies to illustrate a beautiful picture. And damn, do they do it well.

Although I feel it’s the post-rock facet of Summer Fences that ultimately propel it to greatness, it wouldn’t be possible without the superb hardcore vocals to compliment the subtle tunes. The raw sounds evolving from Nick Wakim’s and Ron Petzke’s chords are especially poignant but are used rather sparsely and sporadically, a la Hot Water Music. This creates for an uncanny sense of unpredictability that manages to surprise and enchant. SPOILER ALERT: Let’s just say the end of “Space Jam: The Return” is one of the most guttural, heart-wrenching moments I’ve been lucky enough to hear lately.

Though it’s hard not to, I can’t say the biggest fascination on Summer Fences is either of these spectacular individual qualities. No, it’s Castevet’s ethereal ability to blend the two features. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what binds these two, but after much deliberation, it’s fair to chalk one up to sheer emotion. The guttural vocals compliment the powerful instrumentation in superb fashion, and that’s what really creates the experience of Summer Fences. The entire record walks the line between subtly powerful and aggressively awe-inspiring. I don’t know where they found this line or what they’re going to do with it next, but none of that matters, considering the spectacular record waiting for you in Summer Fences.

Recommended Songs:

Between Berwyn and Bryn Mawr

Beating High Schoolers At Arcade Games

Plays One On TV

Overall Grade: 91% A-

Download on Castevet - Summer Fences




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